Former title challenger and current UFC analyst Anthony Smith will be competing up to five rounds in his promotion to the main event, and Devin Clark has agreed to the challenge as well at UFC Vegas 15.
Though he is not the UFC Vegas 15 headliner that was expected a little over 24 hours ago, Anthony Smith has already stepped up along with his current foe for tonight. The former title challenger is looking to halt a rough two fight skid after a brutal stoppage from Glover Teixeira and a one-sided decision loss to Aleksander Rakic. At first glance, the fight with the lesser known Devin Clark seemed to be the proverbial step-back to right the ship. Smith has discussed cutting out distractions going into his latest camp and working on his strength and conditioning after feeling undersized at light-heavyweight in his last bout, but the step up to 25 minutes will put all of his work to the test.
Lionheart made an impact the second he went to 205!
— UFC (@ufc) November 25, 2020
Of course, a return to form would add more depth to the current light-heavyweight division. Reigning title holder Jan Blachowicz is looking at a date with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya next while top contender Glover Teixeira waits in the wings. Beyond that, the division is rather open to the point that a three-fight run could see Smith right back in the title picture. Considering he put together a three fight finishing streak over former champions Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua, and top contender Volkan Oezdemir to get to a title shot before, another run is not out of the question.
— UFC (@ufc) December 8, 2018
At a time when Dana White’s Contender Series has been in the headlines frequently with alumni in high profile fights, Devin Clark is showing that some credit is due for Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight. Originally discovered on the first season, Clark turned a successful LFA (then RFA) run into a UFC career after being brought into the promotion in 2016. He’s gone 6-4 in the Octagon, including running into some of the top fighters of the division today in current champion Blachowicz and aforementioned top contender Rakic.
Going into the fight with Smith on a two-fight win streak, Clark has already agreed to step up to the plate with “Lionheart” and go five rounds if necessary after being prepared to go only three as recently as Friday morning. If the moment was not enough for Clark, he also fights for the first time since losing his mother-in-law on Saturday. Clark spoke with the media this week and detailed that while it was difficult, she also gave him her blessing and encouraged an impressive performance for him against Smith.
Make it 5️⃣ rounds!
— UFC (@ufc) November 27, 2020
A victory for Smith would help to stop his descent in the rankings and keep him in the conversation of the top five in the division where familiar names like Thiago Santos or potential new foes like Dominick Reyes or Jiri Prochazka lie in wait. Clark would leap into the rankings where anyone in the lower reaches of the top ten would be viable options going into 2021.